Nature and Biodiversity

How will climate change affect food security?

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Climate change isn’t just threatening food supply and agriculture in Africa, it’s a global problem, as these maps from the World Food Programme and the UK’s Met Office show.

Farmers are struggling to adapt to changing growing seasons and rainfall levels, and need significant support to feed an expanding global population – demand for food is due to nearly double by 2050.

The tricky bit, however, is that agriculture is in part responsible for climate change. This is highlighted by a World Economic Forum report, which shows that the industry is responsible for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Add to this poor farming practices that have damaged soil fertility, killed off plant and animal species and polluted water supplies, and a complicated picture emerges.

The link between climate change and food security is a two-way street. The industry must adapt to reduce emissions and ensure sustainability, but also grow to feed an increasing global population. Nearly a billion people are hungry today, and with yields set to drop 20% in some areas as a result of climate change, action is urgently needed.

The World Food Programme and the Met Office in the UK have developed an interactive map, which outlines the problem over time and across different scenarios.

1512B15-food insecurity climate change map

The map above shows the situation in 2050 if emissions are slightly reduced, and with a low level of adaptation – with the darker shades indicating a higher level of vulnerability. The map makes clear that a modest reduction in emissions will not be enough to reduce the threat faced by farmers and countries around the world would remain highly vulnerable in 2050.

1512B15-food insecurity climate change present day map

If we now consider this map from the present, the situation is already serious in many countries around the world. Immediate action is needed to ensure our food supplies are not severely impacted by climate change.

The full interactive map can be found here.

Have you read?
5 steps to save Africa from climate change
Paris climate talks: are we aiming high enough?
4 unanswered questions at the Paris climate talks

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Author: Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.

Image: Wheat is seen in a field REUTERS/Vincent Mundy 

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Related topics:
Nature and BiodiversityIndustries in DepthClimate Action
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